How to reach: A cruise from Downtown Auckland takes approximately two hours.
Why: It’s not just one beach here, it’s a plethora of beaches, all equally gorgeous. The Coromandel Peninsula has some of the best beaches for swimming or just feeling the white sand, surrounded with forests or white cliffs. It’s also home to many artists and craftsmen, who are welcoming if you want to try your hand at pottery or other arts and crafts.
What to do: Skydive in Whitianga beach, wander and explore the Coromandel’s gold mining heritage. Want to take a bike trip? Cycle the Hauraki Rail Trail. But the best thing to do would be to sit and relax in the bubbling pool at Hot Water Beach, which has a natural hot spring that runs beneath the surface.
PROVO, TURKS AND CACIOS
How to reach: A 35-minute boat ride from Providenciales.
Why: The name Parrot Cay comes from Pirate Cay, due to the island’s history with pirates. Parrot Cay is a 1000-acre private island that literally has one luxury resort and a few villas, so yes, this vacation needs to planned a bit in advance. The beautiful beach has white sand and crystal-clear ocean water, and a south side that is mainly marine wetlands, perfect for those who prefer to actually isolate on their getaway and spend some me-time.
What to do: Water sports and everything else is definitely an option, but a better way to spend time here would be to birdwatch, as you can spot some yellow-crowned night herons, green herons and kingfishers.
HANA, MAUI, HAWAII
How to reach: A two-hour journey by cab from Kahului Airport in Maui.
Why: This isn’t just a beach, it’s considered sacred by the people of Hawaii. The sand of this beach is jet black, complimented with bright turquoise water and lush green forest. Honokalani beach is a part of Waianapanapa State Park, which is made up of lava tubes, cliffs, and also Hawaii’s largest known temples. Other than the wonderful beach itself, the park has a lot of adventures for you.
What to do: Laze on the black sand made up of tiny lava pebbles, with a picnic basket, and relax with a book. If you want to explore, you’ll find seaside lava tubes and sea caves carved into the lava cliffs along the shore. It’s not the calmest to swim, but there could be a possibility to take a dip during the summer.
THE JOKULSARLON GLACIER LAGOON BLACK SAND BEACH
How to reach: A local bus or a rental car can get you there in five hours from Reykjavik, and in six hours from Keflavik International Airport.
Why: Black volcanic sand beach is located by the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and it’s where icebergs from the Breidamerkurjokull glacier drift. The beach is constantly changing, because the icebergs keep reforming, melting, new ones are being sculpted, and it’s glistening and glittery.
What to do: Camp. Closer to the beach, there’s a small forest that has camping facilities. You can also visit the other glaciers and lagoons located near the Diamond beach, and also check out the tour to the Crystal Ice Cave, because these aren’t experiences your regular beach vacay would ever be able to live up to.
PRAIA DONA ANA
How to reach: A 20-minute walk from the historic centre of Lagos or via a local bus from Lagos.
Why: Dona Ana beach is on that part of the coast that has a line-up of yellow or red cliffs, and is referred to as the Costa d’Ouro (Golden coast). It’s also been listed as one of the best beaches in the world, thanks to the beautiful rock formations that make this beach worth exploring.
What to do: Sunbathe, picnic with some wine and enjoy the clear, turquoisehued waters. You can also get some deck chairs and parasols that are locally sold to make it your own private beach party, and grab some grub from the “Marisol” beach restaurant at the beach. Alternatively, you can see some of the best views by standing on the cliffs overlooking the beach or book boat trips and explore the caves around.
PAPAKOLEA GREEN SAND BEACH
How to reach: A drive to the southernmost tip of the United States, and then a 2.5-mile hike to the beach.
Why: White sand done, clear waters checked, even pink sand beaches were on your list. But Papakolea is unique, and is known for its unique olive green sand. The ocean here erodes olivine, which are semiprecious stones, and crushes them into fine sand. But be warned, the beauty comes at a cost because there will be no amenities, just the most amazing natural experience to witness.
What to do: The hike to this beach, as many have described, is rugged and difficult, but absolutely worth it. Take a walk along the green sand, taking in the amazing colour and the scenic view. Body surfing is a possibility if you know what you are doing, as there are no lifeguards here, or take it easy and watch sea turtles in the cove.
EAST SARDINIA, ITALY
How to reach: By boat from Santa Maria Navarrese port, or an hour-long hike.
Why: Considered to be one of the most photogenic beaches of Sardinia, Cala Goloritzé beach is at the base of a deep ravine. Cala Goloritze was elected a UNESCO site in 1995. You can also hike to the beach if you’re up for an hourlong hike.
What to do: Snorkelling and hiking are the highlights of this beach. But also, birdwatching is encouraged. This is a secluded beach, meant more for appreciating the cost. However, hotels and resorts can help you plan excursions, including boat trips to Cala Mariolu.
How to reach: A 35-minute seaplane ride from Maldives
Why: Maldives has everything a clear water, luxury-loving person can ask for, but Reethi Rah is the ultimate seclusion you can find. It’s a tiny island in the North Malé Atoll, with eight strands of sand that circle the island. You stay at a villa, enjoy authentic island food and soak in the bliss of having absolutely every beach luxury you want.
What to do: Reethi Rah is mainly known for its One&Only Reethi Rah Resort, which has a bunch of semi-attached and detached luxury villas. If you’re looking to try a sport or a leisurely activity around the resort, there’s a rock climbing wall, tennis courts, three swimming pools to explore. Bringing out the artist in you will be easy too as they have an artist’s studio where art classes are held.